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Consumer Credit

Data released by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that Americans have been borrowing more for automobiles and less for homes. While new mortgages fell to their lowest levels since 2014, car loans have been steadily increasing. A weakening housing sector along with tepid wage growth has affected mortgage demand over the past few quarters.



Consumers who have been discouraged by a slowing housing market have instead stayed put and purchased new home goods and cars with their improving credit. Even though consumers are borrowing more overall, the Fed report noted that loan delinquencies have fallen since the financial crisis of 2008.


Relative to mortgage balances outstanding, auto loans were about 14% in 2018, up from 11% in 2014, meaning that auto loans have been making up a faster growing segment of consumer debt than mortgages. Mortgage loans still make up the single largest debt payment for consumers nationwide, with auto payments the second largest.


Sources: Federal Reserve Bank of New York; fred.stlouisfed.org

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